Over the years, Christina Millar has been managing a variety of different roles as an Engineer within the Aerospace Defense Industry, leading diverse teams, managing cross-collaboration, and juggling a variety of initiatives. Yet it wasn’t until her time going through The Brand Leadership Institute, that she realized that she should actually be designing her own career path as she progressed.
“As I went through the program, I started asking myself: How do I design my career roadmap, what do I want it to look like, what is the scenery? Am I just going along for the ride, or do I want to learn how to change my surroundings and make a contribution?”
Christina originally grew up in Vermont, attending University of Vermont where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. More recently, she completed her Masters in Engineering Science, through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
When she first started her career journey at Raytheon as a Mechanical Engineer, she had a few goals in mind. Seven years later, her goals have stayed primarily the same. She continues to have her sights set on a Vice President and General Manager role of a business area; something she has dreamed about since she was young.
“My mother and both of her sisters are Vice Presidents of tech companies, and from a very young age, I realized that I wanted to be like them. Knowing that, I have always tried to be strategic about the roles that I accept in order to help get me to that level.”
She recently stepped into a new role as a Program Manager this past October, in which she reports directly to the Chief of Staff at BAE Systems working on a variety of projects. She credits her experience throughout the BLI as part of the reason that she was able to land this new stretch assignment.
“By working through my goals and clearly defining what motivates me, it became clear that my skill sets and interests were pointing towards program management. I also continue to utilize the BLI 90-day plan to this day. Getting my goals down on paper and assigning due dates to them made me hold myself accountable and drove me to complete the items in a shorter period of time.”
Outside of her day job, Christina is also the Vice President of the Women’s Inclusive Network Employee Resource Group with BAE, as well as the Vice President of The Society of Women’s Engineers, Southern New Hampshire chapter.
As driven and involved as Christina has always been, she acknowledges that the BLI helped to substantially increase her network, while creating a true sisterhood. It was also her time in the program that helped Christina to realize the importance of growing her modern leadership skills, to help her not just adapt, but to thrive.
“With ongoing international political unrest, a Global Pandemic, The Great Resignation, and the rise of an increasingly diverse and multigenerational workforce, a new kind of leadership is required for success. The pandemic in particular has caused a mass rethinking of individual and organizational priorities, so today’s leaders have to shift from the older hierarchical, profit-driven, office space culture to creating a more democratic, people-focused, and empowering culture that can still drive high performance across a range of locations.”
Her last big takeaway from the BLI? It’s perfectly fine to say no, and to take more time for yourself.
“I’ve realized that it’s better to do three things really well than to do 10 things mediocrely, so I am learning to avoid being spread too thin. Once I stopped saying yes to everything and started focusing on a few key tasks and executing them well, that’s when I really became noticed by Senior Leadership and started being offered more opportunities.”
Currently, Christina remains focused on getting fully up to speed in her new role, and making sure she has learned all of the ropes as she approaches her 90-day mark in the position. Long-term, she hopes to help define her role and responsibilities better and make it her own, while filling potential gaps within the organization and contributing to her business area. We can’t wait to see Christina continue to shine!
Christina Millar is Program Manager at BAE Systems within the C4ISR Systems organization where she supports the senior leadership team in coordinating business area reviews, creating monthly management reports, leading capital management efforts, and consolidating program performance data for executive level reviews. Prior to this role, she was the Mini System Integration Lab lead for a Countermeasure and Electromagnetic Attack solutions (CEMA) aircraft platform, a Systems Engineering Integration and Test Lead in the Advanced Compact EW Solutions (ACES) area, as well as the IPT lead of Racks, Harnesses and Consoles for a legacy Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft platform. Outside of her engineering role, she also holds the Vice President role within the Women’s Inclusive Network (WIN) Employee Resource Group (ERG) as well as the Vice President role of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Southern New Hampshire chapter.
Prior to coming to BAE Systems in January of 2019, Christina worked for Raytheon. Starting in 2013, she worked in the Electrical Design Directorate (EDD) as an intern and assumed a full time role as a test engineer in 2015, focused on the design and test of microwave microelectronics. In 2017, she rotated into the Mechanical Engineering Directorate (MED), where she contributed to the design of a large-scale radar program. Her last rotation within Raytheon was in 2018, where she was the Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) Lead on a modular sea-based radar program.
Christina received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont as well as a MS in Engineering Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She currently resides in New Hampshire with her husband and their two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, scuba diving, and hiking.